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I've had a decent break from Future lately, which I really needed. I was getting really sick of him - he was on everything. You listen to any hip-hop record, Future's there. You go for a trip to mall, Future's playing. You look right - you guessed it. Future's probably standing right there.
Desiigner has been building off the sound and he's someone I can finally get behind since he's added some melody to his music. Taking a break from Future has allowed me to take a refreshing new look into his new single, 'Used To This.'
Too my surprise, it's actually a good song. There's a sort of love-or-hate relationship I have with his music, but this track was a clear winner. The song's instrumental isn't empty and solely consisting of the same spidery and bass synths, but instead features a pretty catchy and pretty piano line that isn't too simple such that it keeps your attention. The beat is standard and the bass accompaniment is still there, but it's behind the piano and it's a really refreshing palette to come into. Perhaps producer Zaytoven is to thank, but regardless, it's a new sound.
The verses themselves are expected, but they're not annoyingly spit and have flow. The song's about Future and Drake being at the top of their genre, the hook of the track revolving around partying and the products of their successes: "Get the llama, I party with the real Madonna (yeah)... Drop-top Porsches, I'm so used to this... Mansion in the hills, I got used to this." Future's verses are expected of him, all about the party life and riches. Drake's verse is also expected, but that means it's pretty humbling. Putting aside the Drake has a lot more variation in his flow (and a lot less noticeable, presumably "aesthetic" autotune), he also covers his family and friends and how he keeps them in his mind and will always be able to thank them for where he is.
'Used To This' tackles two sides to fame: what's on the surface and what one should keep in mind. Future and Drake both take their respective sides, which isn't something special, but the song itself is a nice mix. It's a step in the right direction for Future - interesting and edging away from the sound he's had for his last three releases. EVOL didn't hit hard, but maybe this next record will. Future's been taking his time with this one, so that means something's coming. Beast Mode 16 is coming soon, and this track can only mean good things are to come.
Rating: 81 / 100
The president of G.O.O.D. Music himself Pusha T is back again to share his next single from his upcoming album, King Push. The new song 'Circles' takes about the after party life, Pusha recruiting Ty Dolla $ign and Desiigner for the track, too.
For a Pusha T song, there's an awful lack of Pusha in it. Ty Dolla $ign has more prevalence in the track than Pusha does, which should come as a bit of a concern. That's not to say that this song has much lyrical content - a solid fourth of the lines in the song are "Tell her throw that ass in a circle / Throw that ass in a circle," which serves as both the hook and go to phrases in the verses throughout the song.
The premise of the song is to describe the events that took place after the release of 'H.G.T.V.', released a day before 'Circles'. The three rappers discuss the after-party and flaunting their wealth, glorifying their statuses as successful artists. While the after-party may be all good thoughts and vibes, there are some interesting lines in the song that discuss different topics. It's a success story for Pusha T, or Blowbama P, as he puts it in his third verse - a nickname for him given his starting point as a drug dealer to the president of G.O.O.D. Music. Indirectly, as a response to Pusha's past, Desiigner sings in his hook that "If we get high, you could be my supplier."
Despite the seemingly bland outlook on the song, it's a pretty fun one to listen to. Whether it be Desiigner's 'Tiimmy Turner' crooning that adds melody throughout the track or simply the flow of the words, I cannot say for sure, but I definitely like them both and how they work together to build the flow of the track. Songs like this usually aren't my cup of tea, but this one has groove and flow in a conscious way, which earns it a win for me.
Pusha T's on the heels of his new album, as seen by the two singles. 'Circles' is about the glamour of living as a successful rapper, but in a respectable way, conscious of the past. Pusha T, Ty Dolla $ign, and Desiigner came together in a way that really worked well for the track, and it's going to be interesting to see if the narrative of singles continues forward. Let's just hope the quality doesn't stray as a result of it.
Rating: 83 / 100
Desiigner didn't exactly come in guns blazing with his debut project New English, released late last month. There was lots of criticism for it - and apparently he didn't want anything less than perfect remarks on it (sorry, man). He's back with his response to the haters, though. 'Tiimmy Turner' is his first new track since the mixtape's release, and it's his best song yet.
My major gripe with New English was that it sounded exactly like Future, an artist who, at this point, I am just completely sick of. His unchanging, monotonous flow and his tendency to rip himself off with every song is getting old. 'Tiimmy' feels different than that. Desiigner finally has an original sound he's starting to wrap himself around with now.
Now, I can't pass it up without saying; yes, the Future sound isn't completely gone. The intro and the second verse especially have Future written all over it. But this track has something that makes it bearable - replayable, even - that Future lacks. This song has a mood. Desiigner sings on this track and the melody is just fantastic. It has the progression of a spiritual chant, and really sets a creepy and brooding mood for the song. The way the bass synth imitates that line is also fantastic. The chorus also has a sense of melody to it that Desiigner didn't explore much with in New English, and it really does work for him. It sounds great - the Future rap style is passable with this because the entire song isn't the same exact sound and flow. There are clear differences and it really gives the track some integrity.
Another part of the track I love is the instrumental. The entire song has a progressive instrumental, beginning dark and plays to the mood of the vocal melody he sets up. The entire intro section is a cappella and sounds you could make with the human body - a bare bones approach to a track that grows over time. Snaps make way to a ghastly choir, backed by synths and a piano. Synths build up over time, punching in and out, making way for different elements. The best part of the instrumental, however, is the ending. Halfway through the final chorus, the instrumental changes completely. It develops a more positive resolution, as if its brining Desiigner into a new light. The song feels like an awakening, the instrumental being the revelation. The synth solo at the end is also a brilliant touch.
'Tiimmy Turner' is without a doubt Desiigner's best song. It isn't obnoxious like 'Panda', it doesn't rip off Future, and it feels original. It sounds fresh and new, something hip-hop hasn't heard in a long time. The way he plays with melody really accentuates the choruses and allows for the classic Future style of the verses to exist as independent flows. If Desiigner follows this direction, he's bound for success. This is his niche. Let's hope he doesn't miss that.
Rating: 87 / 100
2016 is still rolling by, and the albums are getting more diverse. Here's what I've listened to over the last three months (April - June) and links to the albums I've reviewed.
5-Star Albums (8.5 - 10)
- Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool - 10
- Deftones - Gore: 9.5
- Gojira - Magma: 9
- Thrice - Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere: 8.5
- Architects - All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us: 8.5
- Weezer - Weezer (White Album): 8.5
- LIGHTS - Midnight Machines: 8.5
- The Last Shadow Puppets - Everything You've Come To Expect: 8.5
- letlive. - If I'm The Devil...: 8.5
4-Star Albums (6.5 - 8)
- Beyoncé - LEMONADE: 8
- Issues - Headspace: 7.5
- Drake - Views: 7.5
- Swans - The Glowing Man : 7.5
- Meadowlark - Parraffin: 7.5
- Yeasayer - Amen & Goodbye: 7
- Against The Current - In Our Bones: 7
- Ariana Grande - Dangerous Woman: 7
- PUP - The Dream Is Over: 7
- Jon Bellion - The Human Condition: 7
- Modern Baseball - Holy Ghost - 7
- Cult Of Luna & Julie Christmas - Mariner: 7
- Death Grips - Bottomless Pit - 7
- BABYMETAL - Metal Resistance: 7
- Melt Yourself Down - Last Evenings On Earth: 7
- Dark Suns - Everchild: 7
- DJ Shadow - The Mountain Will Fall: 7
- Band Of Skulls - By Default: 7
- The Algorithm - Brute Force: 7
- Flume - Skin: 7
- Olaf Stuut - Run: 7
- Katatonia - The Fall Of Hearts: 6.5
- Nick Jonas - Last Year Was Complicated: 6.5
- Red Hot Chili Peppers - The Getaway: 6.5
3-Star Albums (4.5 - 6)
- JMSN - It Is.: 6
- FAWNN - Galaxies: 6
- Skepta - Konnichiwa: 6
- Islands - Taste: 6
- Mogwai - Atomic: 6
- Beartooth - Aggressive: 5.5
- Explosions In The Sky - The Wilderness: 5.5
- The Goo Goo Dolls - Boxes: 5.5
- Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book: 5
- Desiigner - New English: 5
2-Star Albums (2.5 - 4)
1-Star Albums (0 - 2)
Top Albums Of 2016 (so far)
- Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
- AURORA - All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend
- Panic! At The Disco - Death Of A Bachelor
- Deftones - Gore
- Dream Theater - The Astonishing
- Foxes - All I Need
- Daughter - Not To Disappear
- Gojira - Magma
- Thrice - To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere
- Architects - All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us
Top Songs Of 2016 (so far)
- AURORA - 'Murder Song (5, 4, 3, 2, 1) (Acoustic)'
- Radiohead - 'True Love Waits'
- Deftones - 'Hearts/Wires'
- Radiohead - 'Daydreaming' *
- Panic! At The Disco - 'Emperor's New Clothes'
- Foxes - 'Better Love'
- Lacey Sturm - 'Rot'
- AURORA - 'Through The Eyes Of A Child'
- Deftones - 'Phantom Bride'
- Thrice - 'Black Honey'
The new kid on the block Desiigner has slowly been making a name for himself, his hit 'Panda' giving him some success as well as featuring on Kanye's latest album. His latest contribution was on the 'Champions' single from G.O.O.D. Music. Now, he's finally offered up his first collection of material with his debut mixtape, New English. Listening to it will have you wishing we were back in the time where he was just a random feature.
2016 hasn't seen such a blatant ripoff yet. New English sounds exactly like content from Future, who I've come to be sick of lately with his monotonous flow, which Desiigner copies to a science. It goes as far as the beats and production style of the track, everything sounds like Future. Right after the Disney scene sounding 'Intro' comes 'Caliber', which honestly had me check if there was a Future feature on it. But no, it's just Desiigner copying flow and style. Even the atmospheric beat and sharp hi hats come straight from him. The track ends abruptly too, oddly going from the rolling verse into the piano intro of the next track. The ad libs found throughout this track, as well as 'Panda' which closes the tape ruin both tracks too. When listening through the first time, I didn't even register the run from 'Shooters' to 'interlude 1', and when I tuned back in on 'Talk Regardless', it sounded exactly the same as the rest of the album has. Funny enough, that's what happens when I listen to Future, too.
There are few moments where Desiigner steps out of the Future flow. 'Make It Out' has a different style of rap, but while it doesn't take from Future, it steals from Tyler, The Creator instead. The only interesting track on the entire record is 'Da Days', a surprisingly complex song with different sections and an appropriate instrumental. Milly.CTD starts the track off sounding dejected, with a spidery piano sounding behind his verse. The song builds up until about half way through, where a new beat and synth kick in. The Future flow returns but it seems to fit with this track, the urgency and haunting nature of the beat making it work.
Desiigner hasn't found his own style he's comfortable with yet. Perhaps he was worried his flow wouldn't work well on his first release, and tried to emulate someone else's style to justify his lack of confidence. Whatever the case, New English can't be chocked up to anything more than a ripoff. Will he find his own space before his next release? We can only hope.
Favorite Track: Da Day
Least Favorite Tracks: pretty much everything else (Jet, Shooters, Monstas & Villains)
Rating: 52 / 100